Whether personal or professional, the healthiest and most satisfying relationships are those which are mutual, balanced and beneficial to both parties. The relationship between a sales professional and your customer is no exception, and is also extremely dynamic, continually moving either closer to or farther away from Preferred Position.
Developing an Interdependent Relationship with customers is the foundation of a productive, long term association. An Interdependent Relationship is one in which there is equal and balanced distribution of power and influence, as well as equal contribution to the relationship. Interdependent relationships foster trust, openness and collaboration, all of which are essential to provide value and insight, and ultimately achieve influence with customers.
In contrast, a Dependency Relationship (or subordinate relationship) is characterized by one party yielding all the power and influence and dictating to the subordinate member. While many sales-customer relationships start out with this dynamic, over time this interaction will hinder the trust and collaboration needed for you to add value to your customer.
Initiating an Interdependent Relationship requires confidence – in yourself and your insights, as well as the products/or services you offer. It also requires you to invest time and energy into the relationship, displaying behavior that lets the customer know they are being heard and that your concern is genuine. Consider the nature of your customer relationships and where you have opportunities to improve the dynamic.